Back to league action today and on paper one of our toughest games we will face this season v Woodchurch Rovers.
The manager Matthew Easterbrook had difficult decisions to make today, indeed the team changed minutes before kick off due to Captains Paul Stewarts excursions with Miss Alcohol the night before, to his credit the skipper was honest enough in saying he was only at 70% something other players need to follow suit in future, even in this league you wont get away with it lads!!
Some lads were extremely disappointed at not starting, indeed we would be disappointed if you wasnt, and the squad will compete for titles this year not the starting 11..... all players are important.
Still, an extremely strong side took to the field, and in what can be described as a phenomenal opening 30 minutes we simply blew Woodchurch away with some stunning football.
Straight from the off we attacked quickly and decisively, earning a free kick 30 yards from goal Lee O'Donnell fired in a perfect cross and it was met by Liam Rose to fire past the helpless keeper 1-0.
done yet as our midfield trio of Matthew Easterbrook, Adam Coulls and Danny Curran took total authority of the game and created chance after chance for our Forwards Rose and Hamm and the once again impressive double act of Philly Lennon and Kevin Machin out on the wing.
A great ball by Adam Coulls, one of many of superb passes he played today was met by Kieran Hamm who took one touch and flew past there defender in a blink of an eye without picking his head up he snapped at the chance which went begging, a few missed chances by Hamm today but it was the way he was creating the chances for himself by his raw pace and touch which delighted the management.
15 Minutes on the clock a corner was presented to us and Danny Curran hit it in towards the head of Lee OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Donnell who flicked a beauty to the back post where the once again impressive Kevin Machin tapped in to send us 2-0 up.
Woodchurch just seemed to want to lump balls forward but with Matthew Easterbrook rising majestically like a glorious salmon at every ball we looked comfortable and the impressive back 3 of Sam Yates, Lee OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Donnell and Sam Adams were as solid as we have been all season. All 3 produced a number of timely interceptions and quality build up play which allowed us to feel so confident in our play.
Minutes later it got even better, great play once again from the midfield trio found Kieran Hamm in acres of space he played a delightful through ball which found Liam Rose and the striker on fire finished with ease past a shell shocked keeper and a shell shocked Woodchurch 3-0.
It didn't stop there, we attacked with venom at every opportunity, after a rare scramble in the box as the woodchurch striker took aim Danny Curran won a brave and superb tackle which resulted in a counter attack, Philly Lennon from the full back position ran the whole length of the pitch in the style of a cross breed of Gareth Bale/ Usain Bolt, a quite stunning run which resulted in Lennon screwing just wide.
As what happens in matches we let Woodchurch get in to the game for a spell and the last 15 minutes we took our foot of the gas and they put us under some mild pressure. Which in truth we dealt with well but we was always a threat on the break and in the last 5 we so nearly went 4-0 up when Adam Coulls struck a stunning chipped effort from just past the half way line which drew gasps from the line as it flew towards goal just hitting the top of the bar with the keeper well and truly beaten, if it had gone in it would certainly of been one the best goals I have ever seen!!
Towards the end Matthew Easterbrook took a nasty knock to his shoulder winning another tremendous header in the box, he was clearly struggling but in this type of game you need a Booie playing to be in with a chance of winning and he bravely carried on until the half time whistle blew.
Simple same again second half please was the order of the day but unfortunately it didn't start the way we had planned as Woodchurch grabbed an early goal breaking our stubborn rear guard 3-1. Things got nervy and they attacked us again and again, one opportunity had Sam Yates putting in a tackle of the game as he covered across and produced a stunning timely challenge to prevent a clear goal, this was Sam Yates last piece of action as he had given his all in difficult circumstances and was replaced by Captain Paul Stewart.
We tried to settle again and play our football but it was difficult as Woodchurch tried to lower us down to their level and the game got dirty not in the tackle sense just poor play too many long and wasteful balls were played which bypasses our players and also frustrates us.
Then Liam Rose went down after rolling his ankle it didn't look good as he struggled to make it off the pitch but Michael Neish was fired up and ready to come on, shortly after that Matthew Easterbrook signalled to the bench his day was over clearly playing in a lot of pain he couldn't continue no more and with 30 left on the clock on came last week's impressive debutant Dave Leslie.
It was still messy at times and it became more of a battle as Hamm, Curran and Coullsy all found out being on the end of a few tasty challenges, Dave Leslie slotted in well picking up the pieces and dictating play and Sam Adams started to attack down the left more and more, one piece of play between himself and the tireless Kevin Machin resulted in us earning a corner which resulted in Kieran Hamm just off target with a good header after a Curran Cross.
With 20 odd minutes to go another change was made, another superb effort from Danny Curran earned him a rest and on came Tom Briggs on the left, which saw us change around a bit, Machin moved to Left Centre back allowing Sam Adams to burn up his remaining energy in the middle of the park.
We started to get back into the game and cause Woodchurch problems again, Neish, Hamm, Coulls and Lennon all had chances which went begging then after great play down the left from Kevin Machin and Sam Adams the ball found its way to Michael Neish, he held it up superbly and a cheeky ball back to Sam Adams was met with a rifled swerving shot which was met by the fumbling keeper but he could only manage to let the ball squirm thru his hands to the delight of the home supporters 4-1.
The last change was made when once again Kieran Hamm who had terrorised there back 4 all day was taken out on the edge of the box, with a dead leg on came Danny Crocker for the final 15 minutes and we reverted to a 4,5,1 to stifle the game out.
Unfortunately we started to give silly free kicks away time and time again which played into Woodchurchs hands as they pumped balls into our box, Paul Stewart and the formidable Lee ODonnell had to be on their toes and in truth they were as the pair of them won a number of important headers to keep us in front.
With 8 minutes to go Woodchurch scored after another silly needless foul 4-2.
We ended the game well in truth as we played keep ball as Adams,Leslie and Coulls played the ball around, with the defence an outlet at all times.
And that's how it ended overall a great result one which takes us top of the league albeit on goal difference, first half hour we blew them away which is what we need to look to do in every game we play this season.
The Gaffa gave M.O.M to Kieran Hamm, an impressive powerful performance from the young man, a goal an assist and non-stop all match, snapped at a few chances but that will come with experience his first touch and his explosive pace will cause nightmares for plenty of opponents as Woodchurch found out. The whole team was impressive at times today but a special mention to Lee O'Donnell who was once again magnificent at the back and indeed with assists going forward.